Facebook Debuts Live-Streaming for Celebrity Users

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Dwayne Johnson

The Mentions app has introduced a live-broadcasting feature for users such as Dwayne Johnson, Serena Williams and Luke Bryan.

Facebook is entering the live video fray. 

The social network announced Wednesday that it has enabled live video broadcasts for the celebrity users of its Mentions app.

The new feature, which isn't currently available for users of Facebook's standard app, works a lot like live-streaming products Periscope and Meerkat. The live videos will appear in the news feeds of fans who follow them, and will allow for the public figure to respond to comments in real time during the broadcast. After a broadcast has ended, it will be saved to the celebrity's Facebook page for fans to view later. 

Facebook says celebrities who plan on using the new feature include Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Serena Williams, Luke Bryan and Martha Stewart. "I always say that connecting with my fans (and eating good steak) is by far the best part of my job," said Johnson. "So I'm excited to use live because it gives me the opportunity to connect with fans globally, in a cool and special way that's never been done on the Facebook platform." 

Live video has become en vogue over the last year with Amazon's acquisition of Twitch, the launches of broadcasting apps Meerkat and Periscope and the introduction of YouTube's live-focused gaming app. It's a logical next step for Facebook, which recently opened up its API to Meerkat, to join in on the trend. 

The social network has made a big push into video in recent months, highlighting more of the content in its news feed. Facebook says it now sees 4 billion video views a day, but some YouTube creators are speaking out. Hank Green wrote a blog post on Medium last week noting that Facebook counts views after only three seconds, which inflates view counts regardless of retention rates. (YouTube, on the other hand, counts views somewhere around the 30 second mark, Green says.) Green also argued that three-fourths of Facebook videos are "stolen" from other creators. In a response on Medium, Facebook product manager Matt Pakes said that Facebook "takes intellectual property very seriously," provides reporting tools for creators and has a team working to improve its tools for managing copyright infringement.

Facebook's new live video feature rolls out Wednesday on Mentions. Product manager Vadim Lavrusik said live gives its celebrity users a new way to grow and engage their fan bases "in the moment."